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Millions of Yemenis continued their demonstrations across Yemen calling for the immediate departure of President Saleh.

 

GCC states have proposed an initiative for the transfer of power from Saleh to his deputy. Saleh accepted that proposal but most opposition leaders called the proposal ambiguous in that it does clearly address the main demands of the protestors – the immediate departure of Saleh.

 

Saleh has already promised to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2011, two years ahead of schedule.

 

Meanwhile, there are increasing calls from southern secessionist leaders about their case, which they say they fear maybe sidelined by the current unrest calling for regime change.

 

April 1-15, 2011

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


 

As the Yemen crisis are prolonged, tensions appear to be emerging from within the opposition camp. At the start of the crisis, most Yemenis appeared united in their desire for regime change, and the issue of secession was not sidelined. The secession of South Yemen is the biggest threat facing the country, especially the north, which gets over two-thirds of its income from oil revenue, most of which is in the south.

 

At the time of the start of the riots and had there was a rapid regime change, the unity between the various segments of the opposition, including secessionists appeared to have reduced the risk of the south’s secession.

 

However, with the new GCC initiative, some leaders of the southern movement are expressing concern that their cause is being forgotten.  Claiming that the current negotiations between the regime, GCC states and the opposition are ignoring the southern issue, it is expected that unless the secessionist leaders take an active part in the transition of power, calls for secession will resurface over the coming weeks. Secessionist leaders are likely to insist on a referendum for secession as part of a compromise should they be part of it, or if not, the stability of a post-Saleh regime would be prone to the same pressure the Saleh regime was under prior to the start of the riots.